Kern-Scheerer Honored for Community Engagement

Two members of the William & Mary community were recognized on Wednesday, August 30 during the university's Opening Convocation ceremony for their service efforts in areas ranging from food insecurity to immigration. To read about the ceremony, please visit the William & Mary News page.

At the event held in the Wren Yard, W&M President Katherine A. Rowe presented Clinical Associate Professor of Law Stacy Kern-Scheerer and Allisyn Lam ’25 the 2023 President’s Award for Service. 

Given annually to one student and one faculty or staff member, the award honors people “who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to service and made a significant and measurable impact on our community.”

Recipients are selected by the Office of Community Engagement and the President’s Office, and each receives $500 to donate to the community organization of their choice. Lam is donating it to the Rotary Club of Williamsburg, and Kern-Scheerer is donating to Transitions Family Violence Services.

Service is one of William & Mary’s core values, and in the past year, more than 1,000 students and other W&M community members participated in more than 9,400 hours of community and civic engagement opportunities, according to the Office of Community Engagement.

Kern-Scheerer has long been interested in supporting the immigrant community and founded the Immigration Clinic at W&M Law School in 2019. The clinic’s goals include providing pro bono, trauma-informed representation to immigrants in Hampton Roads and training law students to provide that representation while they build their own skills as immigration advocates. 

Since the clinic launched, it has provided more than $3 million in pro bono legal representation, which has resulted in securing asylum and green cards for clients who may not have access to representation otherwise. While more and more law students enroll in the clinic each year, the demand is outpacing their capacity – illustrating the pressing need for such services.

“The incredible work being done for the community by our Immigration Clinic would not be possible without Stacy’s leadership, passion, drive and unwavering commitment to help those in need,” Adam M. Gershowitz, James D. & Pamela J. Penny Research Professor and R. Hugh and Nolie Haynes Professor of Law, wrote in a nomination letter.

In addition to her work at the law school where she is also director of clinical programs, Kern-Scheerer serves on the Williamsburg City Council. She was elected last year and now serves on the council’s School Liaison Committee and Local Emergency Planning Committee. 

“As my colleague and friend, I know that Stacy is a true public servant,” wrote Gershowitz. “She does not seek the spotlight. Her work on City Council is motivated by her desire to always give back to her community, make sure all voices are heard and use her skills and talents however she can to make our community a better place.”

Earlier this year, the university recognized Kern-Scheerer at Charter Day with the Thomas Jefferson Teaching Award. She said she is extremely honored now to be receiving the President’s Award for Service and has learned much from her community involvement.

“Service can take so many forms, and I’m grateful that I have been able to advocate for others in many different capacities so far in my life,” she wrote. “I love working with people, facing complexity, persisting through challenge and celebrating the little wins along with the big ones.

“Particularly through the Immigration Clinic, I’ve learned that service is a team effort. I work alongside many amazing people – colleagues, community partners, clients and students – who inspire me and remind me every day that when we harness our collective strengths and skills, something that once seemed impossible becomes possible. Loving and believing in not just what I do, but also the people I do it with, fills me with joy and buoys me through the days when there are disappointments and setbacks. The work we do together is hard, but I feel gratitude every day to be part of it.”